I am not one for surprises. I suss out what’s beneath the Christmas tree with only the vaguest of clues, I skip ahead in articles to check the outcome before committing to a full page, I dread the I was just in the neighbourhood drop-ins, and I have made it clear – never, ever throw me a surprise party. The beauty industry, generally, doesn’t surprise us much. The trends tend to come in waves. You see it building momentum from a few miles out, growing stronger and stronger until it eventually crashes, in saturation, its replacement having already been building behind it. Think contouring, baking, the liquid lips, the matte skin, then dewy skin, the highlighters – the rhythmic waves flow in and out. But occasionally, something comes out of nowhere – that freak seventh wave – and catches you by surprise. When it happens in makeup, I concede – I love being surprised.
The beauty of Lisa Eldridge makeup launches is they never follow a trend. The original velvet lipsticks were unique and unexpected, as though they stemmed from the purest form of passion and creativity. Then came the pink collection, which surprised again with the addition of two new formulas; Insanely Saturated and Luxuriously Lucent. Each new product seemed to be solely at the whim of the creator’s imagination rather than big business bottom line. It was refreshing. Shortly thereafter came an extensive re-stock of additional Velvet lipsticks; browns, smokey pinks and berry hues which seemed to round out a solid collection. The velvets, I thought, were done.
I anticipated a 2020 release – pandemic pending – would re-stock those sold out shades and perhaps beef up the lines of the remaining two formulas, especially my much loved Luxuriously Lucent. What I didn’t expect was a further four new shades to be joining the Velvets, and two entire new lines of products – lip pencils and glosses. I was surprised, in the best possible way. Lisa has obviously been doing more during the 2020 lockdowns than binge watching Netflix and sourdough baking.
Now that I have these new jewels in my possession, it’s obvious they don’t disappoint. But noticeably absent from the party is Go Lightly in lipstick form – cue the sad face emoji. The good news? It’s been reinvented in gloss form. There are in fact, no new additions to the Luxuriously Lucent lipstick formula. The other minor face scrunch is the lip pencils – sold only within lip kits that feature three products and a pouch. For many, this format will make them unattainable. Lisa has mentioned on Instagram that there’s more in the works for them next year, so it’s a patience is a virtue situation for these beauties.
If you’re looking for the low-down on the entire range of Lisa Eldridge lipsticks, check out my previous posts because today is all about the new releases. The showstopper here is Velvet Carnival, an electric fuchsia pink. Incredibly vibrant and intensely pigmented, this is a serious statement lip. If you’re not feeling quite so bold, try it gently dabbed on as a stain for a beautiful cool-toned pink pout. Compared to Skyscraper Rose, Lisa’s previous bright pink shade, Carnival is more blue based whereas the former is more red based. This is going to seriously pop on the lips, just as the Warhol-style art that inspired it.
Velvet Blush is not as light and demure as you might expect from the usual blush named makeup. If you’re wanting something quite soft, pink and feminine, I’d lean toward Velvet Beauty, as Blush is a whole lot moodier and more of a brownish-berry. I prefer it applied as a stain, and it’s a great shade for Autumn.
I decided to leave Velvet Affair and Velvet Dragon for others to enjoy, as I find pinker hues more uplifting against my complexion. Lovers of 90s makeup looks will no doubt be in heaven, and I imagine the caramel, toffee hues of Affair would look incredible especially on olive and deep skin tones. While I love Fawn and Muse, Affair is just a step too brown for me. Velvet Dragon is a unique shade and definitely one to check out if you’re a fan of orange hues. It appears a brownish brick orange that would pop on olive/Mediterranean skin tones, but I prefer Velvet Morning for a punchier, fiery orange-red.
It was the Gloss Embrace lip glosses that had me refreshing the DHL tracking page – and they didn’t disappoint. At all. Packaged in gorgeous little pots with doe-foot applicators, they more resemble nail varnishes than your standard lip gloss tube. This packaging mightn’t be the most clutch-purse friendly, but the gold lids perfectly compliment the lipstick tubes and are stamped with Lisa’s signature logo.
Before even thinking about colours I have to talk about the texture and feel of these glosses. They have the hydration of an oil, without being too slippery or sheer. They have the colour pay-off of a liquid lip, without being drying. They have the nourishment of a conditioning lip treatment, without feeling heavy or gloopy. And they come in gorgeous, flattering-on-anyone, easy to wear shades. They are the lip gloss formula you never knew you were missing.
Unlike any lip gloss I’ve tried, Gloss Embrace smoothes across the lip effortlessly like butter. They feel balmy and nourishing, and, unlike other lip glosses and tinted oils they don’t cling to, or pull at dry patches as you press your lips together. While they have the appearance of a high-shine gloss, they don’t feel sticky. The Gloss Embrace formula wears away beautifully (but not too quickly), leaving you with just a touch of colour and the most conditioned, soft, treated lips. Love.
Lisa Eldridge makeup purists and collectors are going to beeline for two colours; Go Lightly (the much coveted salmon-pink coral recreated from Audrey Hepburn’s lipstick holder) and Ribbon (a classic, true red from Lisa’s debut launch).
I reluctantly rave about Go Lightly because, although it is one of my absolute favourite lip shades (and my favourite of all the Gloss Embraces), it is ridiculously hard to get hold of. Selling out incredibly quickly, the Go Lightly gloss is more pigmented than expected and washes a beautiful, perky salmon pink across the lips. The pearl gives a hint of iridescence but no obvious sparkle. I think I love this even more than my Luxuriously Lucent lipstick, which pulls a little more orange-coral. If you’re in a part of the world moving into summer this might just be your favourite lip product of the season. Go Lightly is the kind of shade you always want to have a back-up of. We’re all crossing fingers and toes for it’s re-launch in 2021.
Whether you’re a red lipstick person or not, Gloss Embrace in Ribbon is a beauty. Not as full on as the lipstick, this is a great way to dip your toes into wearing red. With one application, I feel completely comfortable wearing this colour all day, and it can be intensified easily with a second dip of the doe-foot or the addition of lip liner. I find the product appears deeper in tone and a touch flatter in the tube, but I was pleasantly surprised by the vibrancy – without being scary – of Ribbon once applied. I anticipated this shade being a mere special occasion colour, but it’s fast becoming one of my favourites.
Fans of pink should head straight to Beauty, a beautiful partner to the True Velvet lipstick of the same name. A touch pinker than the lipstick, and less muted in tone, this is a gorgeous Springtime lip gloss that I think looks beautiful especially on fair skin.
Muse is perhaps the crowd-pleaser of the range, suiting just about everyone and any complexion. I was curious whether it would lean more brown or pink, but it’s quite a chameleon of a colour much like it’s lipstick counterpart. It will shift depending on your natural lip colour. On my fairer skin, it appears a touch more brown, which is amped up further when paired with the matching lip liner. I prefer to apply this shade solo on bare lips. It’s an effortless, everyday nude colour.
If you find the depth of the True Velvet lipstick in Blush a bit much, the Gloss Embrace is an easy to wear, lighter flush of ruddy, pinkish-berry on the lips. It’s feminine and pretty but has plenty of depth.
Don’t be deceived by the darkness of Myth in the tube – it’s a seriously punchy colour. When worn in the True Velvet lipstick formula the matte finish tones it down, but in a Gloss Embrace it’s gorgeously vibrant. There are flashes of almost neon plum and fuchsia berries that lay in the background of this striking, vivid shade.
The True Velvet lipsticks are undeniably special; like little works of art with their fabric covered bullets. But it is the Gloss Embrace that I will be reaching for day after day, and undoubtedly restocking in the future. I now know to put aside expectation when it comes to Lisa’s makeup releases, but I can’t help but wonder what might be coming next. When interviewed recently for Elle India she left it open to imagination: “I’m moving on from lips to a totally different category – one that I’m very at home with!“. What do you think – blush perhaps? I think I’ll reserve any prediction and anticipate being wonderfully surprised.
Find Lisa Eldridge makeup at lisaeldridge.com